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HMRC internal manual

VAT Construction

‘Relevant charitable purpose’ - interpretation of terms: what 'otherwise than in the course of furtherance of a business' means

Although charities’ activities may not be classed as business under other laws, the definition for VAT purposes is governed by its own rules and regulations. Therefore, charitable activities can be business even though they are performed for the benefit of the community, and in the furtherance of charitable aims and objectives.

Some activities are always business, such as

  • charity shops
  • the provision of membership benefits by clubs, associations and similar bodies in return for a subscription or other consideration
  • the admission to premises for a consideration.

You can find guidance on determining whether activities constitute business or non-business, in VCHAR - VAT Charities  or VBNB - VAT Business/Non-Business.